Blurring the line between a game engine and a game; Media Molecule's "Dreams"

(Ace Dragon) #1

In other words, the tools you get inside of games themselves to make your own content has grown far beyond the level and map editors in titles like Age of Empires.

Now, it’s to the point where Media Molecule comes out with a new title that is essentially a game where you create games (but without all of the variables and the programming/tool knowledge needed when working with something like Unity). It does not provide as much flexibility or as much raw power as a game engine, but for kids and gamers in generals, this will be an amazing experience that could introduce them to the concept.

From what is known so far, it contains kid/gamer friendly tools for modeling, level building, and sound/music creation. It is amazing what young people have these days, being able to buy a 60 dollar title from the local store to create, with a controller, a world that took a lot of skill, effort and time with ultra-expensive software until about 15 years ago. By all means it’s still a toy and you won’t be seeing titles made with this on Steam, but it makes the level editors I worked with as a child look restrictive and boring. CG and all of its aspects is, little by little, being unlocked for nearly all ages and skill levels.

(ouraf) #2

People created rudimentary computing devices inside the game using blocks in minecraft.

As long as there’s a expansive “standard” game inside to keep people that just want to play something, this is a powerful niche to explore

(Ace Dragon) #3

The difference is that Dreams is a game specifically designed for the creation of interactive content. It’s different from the Minecraft computers in that you can create these things quickly and easily out of the box (not to mention you don’t have to fill your world with makeshift circuitry). What the game provides is the employment of real logic, as if you’re using a toy version of a modern game engine (ie. far less powerful, but designed to be very easy and fun).


I do not see what the big deal is, game modding even from inside games has always being a thing.

Recently I was amazed by the capabilities of Divinity 2 which has not 1 but 2 kinds of modding tools. Easy (usual modding tools )

and Super Easy (mostly geared towards D&D like DMs)


Definitely impressive no doubt , its no easy things, but pretty standard.

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(sundialsvc4) #5

I’ve been around the computer software business long enough now (koff, koff …) to remember many other educational systems of this general type – from “robot wars” to “lego programming” to “pinball construction sets.” Especially today, the computer can visualize anything. “Barriers to entry” that just a few years ago were insurmountable are today falling-down like dominoes. (“Blender, itself,” being the penultimate “case in point.”)

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(cgCody) #6

I’ve been keeping my eye on Dreams for a while now. As much as I love my ZBrush for work, the prospect of chillin on my couch and sculpting with a pair of PlayStation Move controllers is quite appealing to me.

(Ace Dragon) #7

Again, the difference is that the tools are not only within the game, the tools are part of the game. There is no third-party software to download to do the editing with, no need for inserting dll’s or other files into the game directory, no need to do any low-level hex editing ect… You just start the game and start creating, that’s it.

G-Max and UnrealEd are by no means needed, and there’s nothing to download in general. This is a major step above the traditional forms of modding and encourages people to do it because of its high level of accessibility. The stuff you can make can also span across a number of genres with no hacking and without trying to make something do what it was not designed for.

(noki paike) #8

in this video Jhon Romero tells how Doom was born and how from Doom modding great titles and great game developers were born…
Modding existing games is a good gym

(cgCody) #9

Adding to that, it’s also worth noting that the “story mode” within Dreams was entirely, 100% made within the game itself, using all of the same tools that will be available to the users. This includes all of the modeling, animation, game logic, and music. This is a PS4 “game”, that has primitives, advanced voxel sculpting and painting, an asset instancing system, animation recording, a visual programming/logic system and a fully functional DAW and sound engineering system.

While, yes, it will be accessible to kids and casual gamers, the aim is to have quite a lot of depth in capability. :slight_smile:

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(Ace Dragon) #10

What will be interesting is how close a stupidly artist/kid/gamer friendly “game engine” can get to the power of Godot, Unity, and even Unreal.

Though it is a foregone conclusion that engines where you do actual programming and import actual models will still be far more powerful, but today’s kids may have no need to invest right away in the modern CG and game making apps (it would be far cheaper for one thing since no expensive PC hardware is needed). It might not be until they get older and want to take the next step.

At best, this might move the indie gaming scene into new realms of complexity and scope, once some of those creators become tomorrow’s developers.

(cgCody) #11

Oh yeah, we aren’t about to have a revolution any time soon, but one or two decades from now…? Who knows, kids might be asking;

What’s a Dex Top computer? What’s a Wack 'em tablet?

…You mean you used these things to make graphics?! Without augmented reality contact lenses?! And you had to program things manually instead of just telling the AI to encode the requested logic?


(noki paike) #12

what I think, is that “playing playing” with these tools that are evolving more and more, including blender … all the new inventions that will manifest themselves by design, by making, by experimentation and simulation and then finally on the physical world. … are creating the basis for a new reality that this time will be well designed … just take a look at the evolution and the quality collectively achieved in terms of creativity …
I dare not imagine the world in 10 years as it will be …
We are in full explosive and exponential acceleration … and the growth of blender is just one example …

(BluePrintRandom) #13

I am making such a tool in upbge designed to remove lots of headaches associated with large open worlds.


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(noki paike) #14

just to expand our perception … How much has the world changed?
How many are here that belong to the years when doom was something to grain their eyes and cry as if it were the Holy Graal and how many are here that have not even heard of it ?? :joy:

(justwannapost) #15

The former, please! :smile:

(Ace Dragon) #16

IGN showed off what you can do in the engine in 30 minutes.

Among the tools and features shown

  1. Boolean sculpting (add and subtract) with primitives as brushes
  2. Intelligent painting
  3. Water block
  4. Animated trees (that can have unique colors by the way)
  5. Geometric primitives with built-in fake bevels.
  6. Array modeling (linear and curved)
  7. Some trippy kaleidoscope tool.
  8. Apparent PS-move integration.
  9. Characters that come with a full logic system and just works with the assets.

The impressive bit is how the world building contains some features many game engines don’t actually have. I think just going through and playing through the creations will soak up a lot of time, considering the size and the detail that is possible.

(Ace Dragon) #17

Dreams is now in early access and someone made a little marble game.

It honestly looks way better than the dozens of cookie-cutter marble games made using Unity’s Roll a Ball tutorial, and not a line of code was touched or written.

This also shows the multi-level format you can do (2 levels in this case).

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(noki paike) #18

reminds me of a very old puzzle game similar to amiga, but I can’t remember the name of the title at all

(Dorro) #19

Marble Madness most likely…

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(noki paike) #20

wow 1984 I didn’t think he was that old